April 7th, 2020

I can see the light, maybe not the end of the virus, but I have a reason for optimism.
But, before I get to that, I’m 52 years old and have experienced major “storms” in my life.  From being told my 3-month-old daughter would die due to a very rare heart issue (she is now an MHS Sprinter and leads the school’s Student Government) to financial disasters, Katrina, and on.  What I learned each time, to keep from going crazy, was that I needed a mission.  Something, anything, to do.
So, to all my bored brides this is what I think you should be doing with your free time.
1.       Make your guest list more responsive.  For years I’ve felt wedding invitations are outdated and simply not effective.  Now more than ever you need to communicate with your guests quickly.  So, replace home addresses with Email addresses.  Get cell numbers for texting or social media contacts for quicker connecting. 
2.       Create a wedding website.  This can aid with #1 as a place to put all the information about the wedding.  The Knot and WeddingWire have free services to do this, so take advantage.
3.       While most won’t get the virus, most will be impacted financially.  Consider telling your guests its ok to not bring a gift, the real gift is sharing the moment with them.
4.       Having a church wedding?  Create a backup plan.  Churches will be very careful and remember having the church takes priority over your wedding.  Start looking for outside “backup plan” areas for your ceremony, just in case. 
5.       Prepare for Lower guest counts.  While it’s possible with everyone stuck at home, more people than normal may attend your wedding.  It’s safe to assume nonlocal guest attendance numbers will lower.  Another reason to stay connected with your guests to adjust accordingly.
6.       Consider virtual options for guests over 70 and most vulnerable.  I have said for weeks, our focus should be on not dying.   If I were in charge, I would not allow this group to leave home.  Family, friends, or neighbors could drop off supplies etc.  This is what I have done with my parents.  My 78-year-old father is on immune therapy for cancer and my mother just had shoulder surgery.  They live in Bordelonville, La and have been totally shut down for weeks.  My son even drove from Mandeville to Bordelonville (2.75 hours) to drop off hand sanitizer.  He placed it on the driveway and left.  It was hard on both him and my parents, but it needed to be done to prevent them from possibly dying.  So, investigate zoom, iPad face time, Google nest hub max, etc.  Due to the size of our venue and having balconies that are often time not used.  We are totally open to ideas like “pod social distancing for the vulnerable” (I made that up btw) where we could have a group of guest’s “pod” who live together like my parents in grouped areas.
7.       Have faith this will past and your wedding will happen.  Jesus tells us that while the end will come, no one knows when.  In Matthew 24:37 and following, He says when that day comes “people will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”.  That defines a wedding and reception at Fleur de Lis Event Center!!  Amen to that!
Now for my optimistic outlook.  I have closely followed the west coast and believe the “outbreak” started in late December 2019 due in part to Christmas travel to and from China.  Community spread accelerated the virus on west coast likely being misdiagnosed as the flu early on.  On March 19th California’s Governor felt 25.5 Million would be infected.  But he was wrong, looking at the numbers it’s clear the west coast is on the downslope.  The governor of Oregon just sent Ventilators to New York a very positive sign.  Causing me to believe the west coast is our best guess on what our future will look like in 3 to 5 weeks.
Comparing the West Coast states (53 million people, 25,929 cases) to New York (20 Mil, 138,836) and metro New Orleans (1.5 mil, 11,399).  New York has exploded generally believed due to; large population combined with 56% of people using public transportation.  While the greater New Orleans due to Mardi Gras.
Louisiana is more spread out like the west coast, but Mardi Gras acted to us like Public transportation did to New York, I believe.  Comparing cases per capita, metro New Orleans (7,599/mil), New York (7,077/mil), but the west coast only 490/mil.   Looks bad, but I don’t think it is.  If you compared the 4 states with a similar population to Louisiana, the average cases are 350/mil!!! 
This all tells me, that while most of the country will experience a longer flatten curve the metro New Orleans area peaked its mountainous curve already as the Governor has suggested.  While the accelerated outbreak was awful, the recovery statistically should be as fast.  So, after over-analyzing something I have little knowledge of, I decided to even make predictions.
Louisiana will be one of the first states back opened for business around the end of April.  To be even bolder, I will be surprised if restaurants aren’t opened for onsite dining by 5/15/20.  And Fleur de Lis Event Center hopefully back to whatever the new normal will be by the end of May.
Remember I am here for each of you, if you have questions or concerns please email, call, or text.  I hope this helps. 
We will get past this together!  I am here for each of you, let me know if I can help.
Chad Bordelon